Paul Bruun - Outdoors

The Bruuns ignore mild Sublette County friction towards Jackson float fishermen and put the Green River on hold for regular opportunities to graze on the Daniel Foodmart’s abundant “burrito hatch” and adjacent Bear Den Boone & Crockett-sized poppers with chef Del Sundgren’s Blackberry Buzz jalapeno dip. Maybe Daniel Junction boss Kim Myers will create popper/burrito gift cards.

Black Friday landed during this column’s construction. Even super deals on new Apple laptops, marine gear, recreation clothing, thermal cups and coolers, discounted gift cards, BOGO offers, discounted tackle, shotguns and international travel can’t derail my yearlong Christmas solution party.

Streamlight ProTac HL USB Headlamp: My reliable EX 550 Olympia Outdoors Headlamp lens cracking mysteriously into a million shards led to an endless comparative headlamp quagmire. In self-defense I defaulted to Streamlight, overbuilt first responder-favored portable lighting gear and skipped all cute, ultra-light backpacker stuff. This is a waterproof flame-throwing 1000-lumen USB-port-rechargeable lithium ProTac. Plenty to flood nighttime lake and river routes and survive my bad treatment. Cost: $90

Maui Jim Onshore & Honi Sunglasses: It’s foolish to experiment and take shortcuts involving our eyes. Staring endless hours into glaring rivers, lakes and oceans takes a brutal toll on our sight. After suffering another spring-summer of “just OK” polarized products, Dear Jean and I returned to Maui Jim, the best and most relaxing polarized outdoor eyewear each of us have experienced. After much fit-testing with Delia at Teton Eye Clinic, the new Onshore frame’s ample height allowed beneficial room (hint: tiny flies/6X tippets) for a smooth prescription progressive HCL Bronze lens, the popular shallow fishing shade. The smaller Honi, still with ample HCL Bronze lens eye coverage, was a perfect fit for Jean. Price varies based on prescription lenses.

Rapala Ceramic 4-inch Utility Knife: I enjoy knives. The idea of a small fixed-blade ceramic made me order this latest gadget from Finnish tackle giant Rapala. Efficient Rapala steel filet knives travel everywhere in my tackle kits. This tiny lightweight holds an edge beautifully and is perfect for slicing everything from fruit, salami and, of course, bait. It can’t rust, never needs sharpening, but remember — it’s not a crowbar! Cost: $7 to $8.

Torrentshell 3L Patagonia Jacket: This product name says it all. Take it from an XXL guy who arrives during the ugliest, wettest weather. Very light H2NO material that still blocks the worst pounding precip, it folds into its own neat pack about like a medium fly box. Standard fit with many nice colors, over-the-hips length, covered zipper gutter, pit zips and a great hood (forget helmets) that can be tightened to perfection. Men’s and women’s cost: $149.

Orvis Machined Nippers: It’s tradition to whine about soaring prices but I’m more forgiving when a product works. The tackle world is drowning in marginal pliers and nippers. Most are disappointing, at best. My sturdy four-year-old Orvis snippers trim every leader/material knot closely. Its rotating hook-eye-cleaner is the industry’s best. Its $79 price discourages some dry fly/Tenkara-ists but one is going to a Glades guide pal this holiday.

20-ounce Klean Kanteen Insulated Classic: Somehow during our travels an olive-toned stainless steel water bottle adopted me. It’s not been far away since. I suspect Dear Jean was responsible for this insulated forever-frigid tool that continues to impress. Never used anything else that comes close to this unit’s determined performance. Cost: $32.95.

Super Lube Sportsman’s Kit: My reels, guns and tools have many years of lubed protection from both Super Lube Oil and Grease. These clean synthetic lubricants apply easily to tiny spaces and live in my tackle trays, hip pack and shaving kit. Normally I buy each lube container separately from hardware, auto parts and sporting good shelves. Last June, after seeing this Sportsman’s Kit in Everglades City’s Win-Car Gift and Hardware, it was automatically destined for this year’s Christmas list! Cost: $12.

Interesting Christmas reads

Book gifts are never disappointing when arriving at Christmas because they usually come from thoughtful friends.

“The Grand Teton Reader” When UW-now-UTEP history professor Robert Righter isn’t jousting with homeowner neighbors over Meadow Road paving, he determinedly assembles delicious Grand Teton National Park insights, penned by a Who’s Who of auspicious and expert scribes. All GTNP and Jackson Hole environ fans will love Bob’s new effort. Cost: $29.95.

“Fly Fishing West Yellowstone” Stagecoaches and trains opened West Yellowstone to fly fishermen early in the 20th century. Extraordinary Idaho Falls fly tier/angler/historian and retired INL chemist Bruce Staples joins veteran West Yellow fly shop owner/outfitter Bob Jacklin to provide a step-by-step history of the West’s fly fishiest area. Bruce promised to have this marvelous history and guide ready by Christmas and he did. Bravo! Cost: $29.95.

“Wind, Fire and Ice” Winter may not be perfect to plunge into this perilous saga aboard America’s last USCG ice breaker’s Antarctic trip. Having once camped oceanfront in Tierra Del Fuego near Cape Horn and also knowing long time pal Joe Burke whose diary helped frame Dr. Robert Bunes’ book, I’m eager to learn more about the incomparable Drake Passage. Cost: $32.95.

Some edible options

Summer tastings proclaimed eight notables, any one or all I’d be delighted to receive as presents, either via a gift card or in a To-Go Bag. I’m not kidding.

Dot’s Honey Mustard Pretzel Twists: After outings, I enjoy handing a bag of Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels to poor souls ignorant of North Dakota’s greatest snack export. Since Dot’s fabulous new Honey Mustards were introduced, sold-out pandemonium has reigned.

Alpine/Driggs Broulim’s: Pork Barbecue: Better take note when a professional Houston, Texas-trained barbecue connoisseur admits that she and her husband parked their smoke-making devices in favor of daily barbecue pork succulency from Broulim’s in-house pit meat counters. She’s absolutely right, and the store’s homemade coleslaw is top notch, too.

Fresh Flour Tortillas (9.5-inch diameter): My first bite of this fresh soft item wrapped around scrambled eggs and cheese tasted like a heavenly accident. Ever since they’ve been constant guests in our refrigerator’s fresh cheese tray bin. Several packs rode to Florida for continued perfect winter wraps.

Daniel Junction/Bear Den: Burritos Forever: Veteran Sublette County rancher Albert Sommers’ perspective about too many Jackson boaters on his Green River doesn’t bother Jean and me. We’re in Greater Pinedale to savor Daniel Delight, Cowgirl an Egg Chorizo Burritos at Kim Myers’ Daniel Junction Store. Float fishing is simply an afterthought.

Bear Den Jalapeno Poppers: Sixty-pound fresh jalapeno orders regularly arrive in Chef Del Sundgren’s kitchen and he rejects lots of ’em. The best ones become out-of-this-world herb/garlic cream cheese stuffed and golden brown grilled, bacon-choked appetizers. You’ve never had poppers until you bite into five of these Boone & Crockett handfuls, dunked in Del’s Blackberry Buzz jalapeno jelly. Del’s weekend prime rib feasts and nightly steaks regularly turn chasing Sublette brown trout into a sidelight. Suggest Daniel Junction offers burrito and popper gift cards!

Patagonia Provisions Organic Chimichurri and Smoked Mussels: The flavorful Argentine marinade/barbecue sauce known as chimichurri is growing in Yank popularity. The real stuff with just the perfect smoky and sweet aji molido (ground peppers) mixture lives in working Patagonian gaucho rigging. Fortunately, a 1.25-ounce pack ($5) of gaucho-approved chimichurri spice blend is available from A $20 PatagoniaProvision three-tin cultivated Spanish Mussel Variety Pack — lemon herb, smoked and savory sofrito — is as welcome as any mail-order food gift I’ve met. Beaucoup treat tins also came to winter with us.

Atelier Ortega Cakes and Chocolates: Looking for the special gift? I’ve learned from my dear wife to pay Oscar Ortega or one of his capable staff a personal visit. Present solved. Secretly, I love peering at the precision baking and molding artistry everywhere in Oscar’s two locations. Until now I didn’t realize web photos of scintillating cakes and chocolates make phone and online ordering easy. Visit to treat yourself and others.

Paul Bruun writes every other week about his adventures and misadventures in the great outdoors. Contact him via

Paul Bruun grew up in South Florida, the son of a newspaperman and avid outdoorsman. He's been fishing, guiding, writing and editing in Jackson Hole since 1973. His Outdoors column appears biweekly in the Sports section.

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